With the Yankees’ loss to Philly last night, the Rays’ loss to Atlanta, and the scrappy, small-market Red Sox’s win over Arizona, the tight race in the AL East that everyone predicted in the preseason is finally here. The three teams sit atop the AL East, and all of baseball. The Yankees appear to be the best of the three, with a 41-25 record and the highest run differential in the game. The Rays are tied for first with the Yankees, but have beat up on their opponents just a little less than the Bombers. The Sox sit only two games out, and while it appears they’ve outscored their opponents far less than their top two competitors, their 58-run win differential is the 4th-best in the majors.
Boston has done better than the Yankees against winning teams, compiling an impressive 25-17 record. Oddly, the Red Sox have not been as dominant against bad teams, going 15-11 against teams playing below .500. That’s not bad, but the Sox have strangely played to their competition. They’ve lost 5 games (FIVE!) to the awful, awful Orioles. Overall the Sox have faced opponents with a weighted winning percentage of .497, higher than the Yankees, but skewed because this is the only team of the three who play both the Yankees and the Rays, the best teams in baseball.
The Rays have performed, largely, to expectations. They’ve gone 17-13 against winning teams, and 24-12 against bad teams. To those who argue that the Rays haven’t faced the same competition as the Yankees, you’re correct, but not by much. The weighted winning percentage of the Rays’ opponents is .483. That translates to about a single win that they’ve gotten from their easy schedule.
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